Check out a few of our favorite bits from around the web this week. Have a great weekend!
Mango goes RTM In case you missed it, the Windows Phone engineering team officially signed off on the “release to manufacturing” (RTM) build of Mango earlier this week. Here’s what you didn’t see in the blog announcement from Terry Myerson, engineer-in-chief for Windows Phone (standing center, in striped shirt): a behind-the-scenes peek at the official Mango sign-off meeting.
To me, these sign-off meetings are the most interesting and exciting moments of the entire software development process. Even as a grizzled former tech journalist, the chance to witness one for a major Microsoft product still gives me a little thrill. They have the atmosphere of Mission Control at a Shuttle launch. It’s standing room only, and the hallways are packed with people (like me) trying to listen in (ok, and maybe trying to snag a free glass of champagne). During sign off, Terry’s lead engineers go around the room and give an official go/no go for their various feature areas. There’s always a swirl of emotions in the room: nervous tension, excited anticipation, relief.
In this case, of course, everything was a go. The room erupted and, well, you get the picture. Mango is one step closer to your hands.
Meet the world’s first Mango phone
Speaking of Mango, Fujitsu Toshiba just unveiled the IS12T, the world’s first Mango device and Japan’s first Windows Phone. The phone sports a 3.7” WVGA screen, 32GB of storage, and a 13.2 MP camera. Plus, it’s waterproof and comes in 3 colors. The phone is slated to be released in “September or beyond”. Here’s Engadget’s write up. In a separate event, Microsoft this week also showcased a bunch of great Japanese apps, which you can learn more about in English or Japanese.
Switching to Windows Phone
Sydney Myers, Lifestyle Editor at PhoneDog.com, wrote an interesting piece on why she recently switched to Windows Phone. She's enjoying the experience so far, mentioning how she’s enamored with the "simple, elegant, and minimalistic" feel of the Metro UI and loves how it "carries all the way into the apps." We truly appreciate her compliments and are glad to welcome a new member of the Windows Phone family.
Will Dilbert love Windows Phone?
Speaking of switchers, recently Microsoft’s Brandon Watson made a bet with web celebrities who’ve become dissatisfied with their current phone. The wager? If any of the celebs try Windows Phone 7 and don't like it, Brandon will donate $1000 to a charity of their choice. Scott Adams, creator of the much loved Dilbert comic, and CNET reporter Molly Wood have accepted the bet. We can't wait to see what happens next! Who is your money on?
“There’s a new fruit in town.” That’s the catchy tagline for what we think is easily the most creative student project we’ve seen all week (ever?). Izzy Grant created a commercial that shows how Mango comes in handy in her everyday life. The project also underscores another point: We really have great fans. Know of any other fun grassroots Windows Phone projects? Share them below in the comments section. Watch the Vimeo video
I've been pushing Windows Phone really hard to friends, family and colleagues. Right now I've got everyone waiting for Nokia hardware. My most difficult challenge is getting people to realize that Windows Phone isn't Windows Mobile. I think that Microsoft needs to take a different approach with their marketing, because whatever they've been doing isn't working! I haven't seen a single ad that really shows what WP is. "Get in get out" doesn't say much and all of the vids depicting people whom use WP in their daily lives doesn't say much about WP either.
Microsoft needs to create ads showing off the OS and specific apps that will blow the competition out of the water. For example, we know that it has mobile office, but what's it like using mobile office? I'd love to see an ad showing unique features that would make people say, "ohh, I wish my phone could do that!"
Indeed. And we'll never know exactly what set this store into WP7 motion, I have been in there no less than 4 times with my WP to take care of various things (My sim card, at 3 years of age apparently just couldn't handle being in a smart phone, Some Uverse stuff, Getting a case etc.) all the time saying I liked my phone.
That being said, it's a entirely different experience based on who you get. When my wife was getting her iphone (Don't ask, long story) they sales person next to us was giving the hard sell on an iPhone *3GS* (keep in mind this was December, well into iPhone 4 time). The really hard sell, full of lies, including "Oh, this will totally keep getting upgraded with all the new features!" Turns out that's only partially true: www.engadget.com/.../ios-5-imposes-minor-feature-limitations-on-iphone-3gs-3g-owners
Nevertheless, Droid and iPhone do seem to hold a special place in AT&T's heart (read: pocketbook) and my experience will never be the norm (being an informed WP7 fanboy, I've never just walked in and said "Smartphone me"). Actually the closest I could get to this is when my mother called to let me know she had gotten a new smartphone. They sold her on the new 4G Infuze, which I find entirely strange, since it didn't really fit her ecosystem at all. Oddly she refused to go with a WP7 because she didn't use Zune (itunes user) and it was "too new"
@Eraserhead, the post by @tsrblke is right. And, speaking from experience, there is absolutely no way to get any useful information from AT&T on this. You will always will get the standard "We have checked our records and you have the latest version of software for your device". They are ignorant, of course. I suspect there are, like, three people who are responsible for device-specific testing & development and they probably don't have supervisors who have any clue what they actually do, so getting any sort of status is impossible. My opinion, of course.
And, @tsrblke, you're confirming what I've contended from the beginning---the best sales pitch for WP7 comes from actually putting it into someone's hands. I'm glad to hear you found one of the three stores in the country that actually promotes the device ;) My experience, unfortunately, is in line with what so many have found (clueless employees, employees pushing iPhone or Android and trashing WP7). I sometimes find myself wanting to just roam the stores and insert myself into the conversations when people are looking to upgrade or get a new phone.
It's a bit more complicated that that. The TL;DR of this article is "The Phone makers are testing/tweaking it, then we'll get it back and test it and tweak it a bit (along with the carriers) then it should be to you." It's got a bit still.
@Anyone talking about the Cloud. There are still problems with that admittedly. BUT the good news is that Skydrive integration may solve the need for a file system on the device persay. We'll have to see how it works. At the very least you should be able to get your files to Skydrive and quickly press and hold to get them too your phone. I'm hoping for something more like how pictures work where I can just shove it in my "Mobile Files" folder and have it go.
Honestly, the vast majority of files are soo small, even 8 gigs could hold many of them. That being said, Windows live mesh, and Skydrive need to play nicer (so I can get my Mesh files quickly to my phone and vice versa, should I need them.) My guess is that's a different department.
@Capt_Ron. Indeed! What a mess! Part of the problem is the wacky Comission they must have at AT&T. Iphones are expensive, accessories are expensive Push those! Heck I was at Best buy the other day and asked for a freaken case my focus and was told "Those just came out [In June] don't expect cases yet." I retorted "They've been out since October." To which I got "Well I didn't know about that, we jsut got them."
Part of it I suppose comes from where you are too. WP7 had a center display at my AT&T store (although to be fair I didn't pay attention when I went back in) but several employees there have hold me they have Foci and they love them. Especially the Screen. I showed mine off to an Iphone user the other day and he was floored by the screen. He nitpicked over the fact that he could "see the pixels" (still not sure about that but whatever.) but the contrast and color dept was "unlike anything the iPhone can do!)
I love my WP7 phone. I would love to see more people use them, especially in the enterprise.
But no one "sells" them. If you go into Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint, they will push Google crap and iPhones until they turn blue. They will never conciously direct a customer to a Windows phone. This is so frustrating. They don't even advertise them in their stores. You have to ASK for one. I went into a Verizon store and asked for a Windows phone and the sales person was like "Hey Chuck, we carry Windows phones?" Pathetic!!!
MS Should offer incentives to the carriers to push their phones like Google does.
I don't care how good the OS and hardware is, if the sales outlets don't "sell" them, MS is in trouble in the mobile market. The same exact thing is going to happen with Windows 8 tablets.
A question about RTM: I have a Focus via ATT. Does RTM mean that the Mango release is now in the hands of Samsung and/or ATT? If yes, who's got it now? Can I do anything to find out the status from them?
You might be misunderstanding my consideration. I'm 100% behind getting off the single-device concept and moving to the cloud. As it stands now, almost all my synchronization happens wirelessly (either with Skydrive or on my home WiFi network where I have my music database stored). The USB port on my Focus is now almost exclusively used to charge my device. Again, there are two ways to treat the reliance on the cloud: As a backup for what you have stored on your device (whatever that device is); As the source for your data/media. Mango and the associated changes that will also be implemented in the Skydrive will finally remove my reliance on using my home network for storage, which means the final tether I had to any workstation will be eliminated (thank goodness). At that point, I will truly be able to treat the cloud as one of the two types of reliance. So, until high speed data service is available everywhere, the only constraint I will have in choosing future devices will be the size of onboard storage. Once high speed data IS available everywhere, onboard storage will be of little consequence, other than for applications.
it looks like now you come to understand certain problems i have with the cloud idea.though its great i still believe USB connection is very usefull and more practical for the current state of the world.given the current 3G and Data plans situation
this cloud idea is one reason why i´m really sceptical about the global success of windows phone first and secondly the success of Nokia in this partnership
1-North America hates Nokia,so for sure its success will mainly come from Africa where they rule and Europe too,In Africa 3G and data connections are still very immature in the few places where you´ll find them and at the same time really expensiveand even basic home internet is still a luxary in many countries there,but that is a huge smartphone market
2-In Europe there´s not really a 3G/Data availability constraint and BTW they even have cheaper Data plans than the rip off we get from carriers here in North America,but there again Microsoft is not so appreciated and is being slow in its globalization campaign.An actually,this globalization of WP and its services available are one thing that increases my sceptism about Africa,because it seems like Microsoft thinks only about South Africa but of the entire continent
Sooooo.....with the reports that Microsoft & Nokia are having a big shindig Aug 17, and the shiny new Windows Phone logo featured on the adverts, I'm thinking that AT&T is out as the "premiere partner" and Nokia is in. Current speculation is that the Sea-Ray will be either formally announced or even launched at the event. I'm anxious to see the full specs on this phone. It probably goes without saying that the camera will be far and away better than anything on the market. But my big thing is going to be memory. Hopefully there will be versions with much larger storage capacity (e.g., 64GB). Unfortunately, until high-speed wireless is completely ubiquitous there will probably be a desire, if not a need, to store media on the devices. We live on the border of Mexico and 3G exists as a single tower, so half the time streaming capability simply doesn't exist in any practical sense. Also, since we travel OCONUS for dive trips we often find not only is high speed wireless not available, wireless at ALL is nearly impossible (try visiting Utila). So, having my extensive song collection stored on my smartphone is a must. Ideally, I'd LOVE to be able to have all my songs stored on the Skydrive and stream anytime, anywhere. But three things still force me back to storing locally: FREE storage capacities on the cloud; availability of high-speed bandwidth; very expensive data plans with small limits and caps. These, of course, aren't issues unique to WP7, but it's clear that Microsoft sees the future as all-things cloud....and, evidently, Apple now sees that same future. But, I digress. I think this event in August is going to be very interesting. Besides the Japanese devices and Nokia's, anyone placing bets on which device and which carrier will be first out of the block with a WP 7.5 device?
@Bill, I'd say you and the "31000" others need to get over the fact that there isn't direct sync to Outlook. You have the Connector. If you can't use that then you probably need to move to another platform, simple as that. It works perfectly fine for most of us. I have no need for direct ANYTHING --- I move through the cloud. At first it bothered me, too, but then once I got the connector working, I simply don't need it. I'm no longer tied to my desktop.
Without a USB Sync to Outlook on the Desktop....not gonna happen
Hey folks, has anyone got a handle on when MS will be developing a SYNC method for our desktop Outlook via USB or WiFi or both. The forums and boards are all alight with outraged consumers that have returned their Win7 phone due to thinking that this would be a standard app at the git go. One forum had over 31000 links to this outrage. And Im hearing that the SDK for the developers doesnt even allow such actions. Apparently the system is READ ONLY for the developer kit and the only people that can actuall Write to the system are the high level manufacturers such as HTC etc.
If so, this is very lame on the part of MS. Why do we have to buy an Apple device to be able to sync with my OUtlook calendar, contacts, tasks, notes etc. An outrage they wont sync with THEIR OWN software. Customers EXPECT this, as they should.
Facebook pages are being set up about this issue and petitions are starting on them.
I completely agree with you,right now i own a HD7 but i'm looking forward to the next generation of Windows phones especially if they have front facing Cameras,but to get one it wil have to be contract free and unlocked but IDK if thats possible in Canada
I love windows phone but in Thailand, The laungauge doesn't support my country include viture keyboard. So sad. T_T
First: Love Windows Phone. Left Iphone after four years. Second: No matter how good the phone is and will become, if you don't change your marketing tatics the phone will fail. Microsofts communication to the average consumer is horrible. Until I started playing with the phone I didn't even now about Windows Live. Start marketing that too. Additionally "Everywhere" I go not one sales person knows anything about windows phone. Majority of all the displays (especially at Best Buys) are missing phones or have no active phone to play with. Every sales person I delt with (100% of them) tried to sell me a iphone or android. Windows is a fresh and unique o.s, unlike Android which copies Apple alot. You need to start marketing showing the differeneces and the tremendous benifits of Live Tiles and social networking. Apple has a huge head start in there eco system and they are the best at marketing there products to the average consumer. Lots of products that are great end up failing because of the lack of communication!
Still waiting to see the Windows phones to show up as a prepair/no contract phone from someone (Boost, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile). Not all of us enjoy being locked into a contract.
@Rodney E Jones
Sorry but no flash support will be available neither in mango nor in future WP updates
Can somebody tell me if IE9 in Mango will playback flash video inside web pages. Does HTML 5 fix this??? I really want my phone to play videos like my friends flash supported droid.
If anybody has a answer for me I can be reached at.. firstname.lastname@example.org
I personally like windows phone 7, and wish it could have more success. The only issue for me to own it now is the availability of the latest hardware. When my mobile contract was due last month, there was no newer hardware at all in my country (Singapore). Not even HTC Arrive, and no further newer model announced. With such a tough competition in mobile market, Windows Phone doesn't have luxury like your competitor to release new phone annually. The hardware refresh should be more frequent, at least in quarterly basis. I believe Nokia will help this, and Microsoft should push it harder. And, yeah, there wa sso little marketing push since original WIndows Phone was released. Only my techie friends know what windows phone is. The rest has no clue, and mostly thought it's just next version of Windows Mobile.
I hope this will change starting from Mango update, and when my contract due next year, Windows Phone surely will be mine :). All the best for your team, and congratulation for the significant milestone :). Well done..
I just can't wait to see this on my phone. I really hope this does not break my unofficial dev unlock =/
@NathanPeterson: I probably should have worded that slightly differently. This weekly column is a wrap of Windows Phone news from around the web, and I just meant that the link points to Engadget.
Find it somewhat funny that the video linked about Windows Phone won't play on my Windows Phone, haha. Do I need something special like a different vimeo(?) app?
I would love to see support for Icelandic characters in Windows Phone 7. Spelling Þór as Thor just isn't as cool. These characters have been around for ages, and adding them to WP7 is a no brainer. The day will come when I'll be able to write þöngulhaus on my WP7 device.
How about it WP7 team? Non-compliance will be met with volcanic eruptions.
"According to Engadget" ?
Does Microsoft rely on Engadget to figure out when they'll releasing a new phone? =)